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又中又英——“eyes playing tricks on me”

2021.12.03
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 Where were you on September 11, 2001? Most people would remember where they were on that horrifying (extremely shocking) day when al-Qaeda terrorists crashed hijacked planes into New York City’s World Trade Center twin towers. I was living in Seattle and watched the morning TV news as I normally do. What I saw made my body tremble (shake) and my legs wobble. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. But I soon knew it was a nightmare come true. Terrorists had attacked the US. Like other Americans, I was shocked.

  If you have wobbly legs, it means your legs move unsteadily from side to side. It can be caused by a health problem but in cases such as mine it was caused by disbelief, emotion, and anger. A similar expression is jelly legs. The expression “eyes playing tricks on me” means you think you saw something that was not real. Tragically, the 9/11 terrorist attack was real. Little did I know that 20 years after 9/11 I would be living near ground zero. My Manhattan apartment is just 30 minutes by subway (MTR) to ground zero. The expression “little did I know” means you could not have guessed something could happen to you in the future.

  The original meaning of ground zero is the site of a nuclear explosion but it is now used to describe the site of a violent event. The site of the 9/11 attacks is called ground zero. I went to ground zero recently. It is now a memorial. There are two big waterfall pools below ground level on the exact spot where the two World Trade Center towers, known as the twin towers, once stood. The names of all those who died are written on the sides of the two pools. Last September, less than three months ago, was the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I missed the yearly memorial because I was at my elder sister’s home in Indianapolis. But if I am still in Manhattan next September, I will definitely attend the memorial.

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  二〇〇一年九月十一日,你身處何方?大多數人都會記得,在那舉世震驚(horrifying)的一天,當阿蓋達恐怖份子將騎劫的客機撞向紐約市世貿中心雙子塔(twin towers)之時,自己在哪裏。我當時住在西雅圖,如往常一樣,正收看早上的電視新聞報道。我看到的一切令我身體顫抖(tremble),雙腳晃動(legs wobble)。我以為我的雙眼在胡弄我(my eyes were playing tricks on me),但很快我便知道,這是噩夢成真了。恐怖份子確實襲擊了美國。一如其他美國人一樣,我大為震驚。

  若你有wobbly legs,意味着你雙腿不穩、左右搖晃,這可以是健康出了問題導致,但在一些情況下,像我的情況,它就是出於難以置信、情緒和憤怒。另一個類似的習語是jelly legs。習語“eyes playing tricks on me”意即你看到一些很不真實、令你難以置信的畫面。悲慘的是,九一一恐怖襲擊是真實發生的。當時的我也不知道(little did I know),九一一發生二十年後,我會在歸零地(ground zero)附近居住。從我曼哈頓的單位去歸零地(ground zero)不過三十分鐘的地鐵車程。習語“little did I know”意即你不可能想像得到將來某事會發生在自己身上。

  Ground zero本身解作核彈爆炸的原爆點,但現在也用來形容遭受到嚴重損毀的地方;九一一恐襲的原址就叫作ground zero。我最近就去了歸零地(ground zero),它現在是個紀念場地。那兒有兩大低於地平面的瀑布池,正正就在世稱雙子塔(twin towers)的兩棟世貿中心大樓原本聳立之處。所有在事件中逝世的死者名字,都列在兩個池的旁邊。不足三個月前的九月,是九一一的二十周年紀念。我錯過了那一年一度的紀念活動,因為我在印第安納波里斯我姊的家裏;但若我下年九月還在曼哈頓,我一定會出席紀念活動。mickchug@gmail.com

  中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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